Live Review: Laura James & The Lyres, Captives On The Carousel & Genevieve Carver, The Shakespeare, Sheffield – 9.11.14

It’s not often I end up being so completely captivated by a whole evening but this was one of those rare events where each performance captured the entirety of my attention. A gig headlined by Laura James this may have been, but add to that performances from folk group Captives On The Carousel and poet Genevieve Carver and altogether it was a brilliant evening. Treating this as a triple headline, I’ll keep this to the point.

There’s no better place than to start at the beginning with this one as that helps to set the tone of the evening. Genevieve’s brand of poetry is one that blends experience, life and a fantastic selection of words that has the ability to relate to everyone in the room, creating moments of laugh out loud humour and moments of quiet reflection in equal measure. Check out what you can from Genevieve, I highly recommend it.

Then came Captives On The Carousel. This was the first time I had the chance to see them and to be honest it’s been tricky to put into words a way to best describe it. Beautiful, yes. But that doesn’t do it justice. Haunting, definitely. Passionate, absolutely. With a combination of just acoustic guitar, cello and vocals, the sounds that they create through specific melodic construction is something simply wonderful to behold. When they were joined on stage by Laura James then that only added to the overall effect. With the inclusion of vocal harmonies from two fantastic singers it was simply amazing hearing the lyrics in their songs come to life.

And of course there’s Laura James & The Lyres. Highly impressed with her single release ‘Every Little Amber’ earlier this year, live her music sounds just as beautiful if not more so. There’s something absolutely mesmerising about her music, from the way it’s written all the way through to the way it’s performed. Playing a set list that engrossed everyone in the room, as well as the audience asking for two encores, it was instantly clear that everyone felt something from these songs and didn’t want the show to be over. And as for her voice, there was so much feeling to it that made her performance feel much more honest.

Completing the live experience was the added use of drums, piano and cello and this all added together to bring so much more emotion to the songs. Each performed brilliantly, it resulted in the experience of hearing these songs in the best possible way. The construction of the songs utilised a great use of dynamics, notation and harmonies.

The way that Laura James presents herself as well brings a lot to her music. It’s not often you get to understand someone so much through their music but the songs that Laura has written are an extension of herself, drawing from her experiences, hopes and dreams. In the end, everyone was left with the feeling of having had a musical experiences as opposed to just the standard gig fare. Something that inspired and left a spark of creativity within. If you’re a fan of folk music or not, if you appreciate simply well written music with beautiful melodies and meaningful lyrics then you really should check out her music. As well as Captives On The Carousel. And the poetry of Genevieve Carver.

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